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One of the few certainties we have in life is that change is constant.
Yet, we expend a considerable amount of effort in trying to turn our life into a defined, static picture. We pick a career path, a set of beliefs, a group of friends, a life partner, a home, and a lifestyle, then we wishfully think that we can relax into the picture we’ve composed, frame it, hang it up for all to see, and enjoy a permanent “happily ever after.”
What we sometimes overlook is that life is a dynamic force. Every single element that walks into our experience is undergoing its own personal never-pausing transformation, and we have no means of predicting the trajectory of its evolution.
Nothing ever stands still, and yet we make it our life’s purpose to freeze our existence at its peak and spend the rest of our days merely adding little touches to the already established picture.
Solutions are Illusions.
All that is physical is in a state of transmutation, and we know that the intangible is ever-shifting, because we can feel our emotions and thoughts fluctuate like sea waves. Wherever we turn, there is change in progress. Even what looks like perfect stillness is a living landscape of imperceptible movement, in which atoms and energy are busy repainting and rearranging reality.
What this means is that looking for definitive solutions is ultimately futile. If everything around us is impermanent, solutions are bound to be temporary too. Of course, a plan of action can help us momentarily, but the next moment might already require a different outlook and a new strategy. We have set ourselves up for eternal disappointment by seeking stability in a world whose very laws are based on constant motion and transformation.
Rather than approach life as if posing for a perfect picture, we should live it, as if engaging in an imperfect, spontaneous dance. Not knowing the next step can feel overwhelming, but the truth—which is both harsh and comforting—is that even when we feel prepared for the future, things never quite unfold exactly as we predicted. In other words, even our moments of stability are an illusion.
Predictability Stunts Growth.
If the illusion of certainty does give you comfort then there is no harm in tricking the mind, as a short-term remedy and imagining the desired outcome. You could even write down your favourable prediction, regard it as absolute truth, and move on with your day, if that helps you release your worries. We must remember, however, that although predictability may bring comfort, any setbacks and deviations from the route we planned are not only an intrinsic part of the game, but a precious opportunity for growth. In short, getting what you want is satisfying, but not getting it can help you become a gentler, and thus stronger, human being.
Ideally, then, we should find a way to embrace changeability and learn to surf the waves. Learn to relax into the waters of vulnerability and trust the dynamic quality of life to propel us forward. We could even go as far as revelling in the act of surrender, because the advantage of unpredictability is that it contains a myriad of possibilities. Whatever manifests out of those possibilities, whether painful or blissful, can help us advance in our personal journey, if we choose to use it as a springboard.
Rather than focus on expectations, we can redirect our attention toward our reactions and coping mechanisms. Anxiety comes from within, and we can only tame it by turning inward. We will never have full control over outer factors because there are far too many forces at play. We can, however, retune our inner compass and accept the challenge of navigating life without a map.
In Praise of Uncertainty.
Uncertainty is a reminder to let go. You can keep trying to figure it all out, and keep failing, or you can accept that life only unfolds one moment at a time anyway, and be there for that moment. Uncertainty is life’s way of muddying the waters of the future so that you actually focus on the immediate present: the only fragment of time you will ever have direct access to.
So let us live uncertainly ever after, remembering that it is the passion in the dance that matters, not where the steps lead you.